The Latest Bonus News - Who's Hot, Who's Not

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The Evening Standard reports that Morgan Stanley boss John Mack put back by a week the date his firm advised staff of their bonus numbers, after he learned what Goldman was paying its staff. The Wall Street firm is said to have told its staff Monday, after a 'last-minute scramble' to find more money for the bonus pot.

Mack is said to have had to pull out all the stops to reward staff, after $9.4bn of subprime lending-related write-downs affected Morgan Stanley's 2007 profits (Q4 came in with a $3.59bn loss). As usual, top performers are thought to have been well looked after, although firm support staff are now used to bagging more modest fare each year-end.

Meanwhile, Dealbreaker reports that, according to its sources, staff over at JPMoran's structured credit group are likely to see their bonuses fall by over 40% this year.

And there's a degree of gallows humour over at Merrill Lynch. With most staff staring down the barrel at lower bonus payouts this year, a common refrain is: 'It could be worse - we could be working at Citi!'.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bear Stearns CEO Jim Cayne and other senior firm executives are expected to confirm that they will take no bonus for 2007. The rumour follows on from the strong expectation that Bear will announce its first-ever quarterly trading loss Friday (after a 62% fall in Q3 earnings).

Finally, no bonus story would be complete without reference to Goldman Sachs. The New York Times reports that the Wall Street firm set aside a mouth-watering $20.2bn for staff comp in 2007 - that's an average of $661,490 per employee, up from $622,000 last year and despite a 15% increase in the firm's headcount in the last 12 months! The New York Post says that even a mailroom clerk at Goldman can bag a $3,000 bonus, whilst an admin assistant or secretary to a very senior Goldman staffer could walk off with up to $200,000.

According to Financial News, the Goldman comp pool this year was marginally more than the GDP of Latvia ($21.1bn), and, if you stacked the firm's staff bonus cash in dollar bills one on top of the other, it would reach up 1,370 miles into the sky!

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